Cornerstone Christian School

Education institution number:
School type:
School gender:
Not Applicable
Total roll:

119 Mihaere Drive, Kelvin Grove, Palmerston North

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Cornerstone Christian School

Te Ara Huarau | School Profile Report


This Profile Report was written within 18 months of the Education Review Office and Cornerstone Christian School working in Te Ara Huarau, an improvement evaluation approach used in most English Medium State and State Integrated Schools. For more information about Te Ara Huarau see ERO’s website.


Cornerstone Christian School is a co-educational, year 1 to 13 state integrated special character school located in Palmerston North.

Cornerstone Christian School’s strategic priorities for improving outcomes for learners are:

  • Growth: create and implement a plan that supports growth

  • Wellbeing: development of robust pastoral care processes for staff and students

  • Culture: strengthen Cornerstone Christian School culture

  • Learning: build a curriculum that prepares students for the modern world.

You can find a copy of the school’s strategic and annual plan on Cornerstone Christian School’s website.

ERO and the school are working together to evaluate how effectively the school’s pastoral care processes support all learners to fully participate in learning.

The rationale for selecting this evaluation is:

  • the school knows that it is timely and important to ensure that robust processes for pastoral care are in place

  • an understanding that effective and consistent pastoral care processes support wellbeing and help all learners to fully participate in learning

  • it is directly aligned with the school’s strategic goal to support wellbeing and has a consequential impact on the school’s culture and learning goals.

The school expects to see robust, coherent, well understood and consistently applied pastoral care processes supporting all learners to fully participate in learning.


The school can draw from the following strengths to support the school to evaluate how effectively the   school’s pastoral care processes support all learners to fully participate in learning:

  • strong identity, values and culture underpinned by the school’s Christian special character

  • leaders who know that robust pastoral care processes impact positively on all learners

  • an established pastoral team who bring a wide range of expertise and passion to this work.

Where to next?

Moving forward, the school will prioritise:

  • further developing and implementing consistent, culturally responsive, and relational pastoral care processes across the school

  • supporting new learners to better understand the values, culture, and expectations of the school

  • establishing clear communication channels to ensure that learners are understood and supported in consistent ways.

ERO’s role will be to support the school in its evaluation for improvement cycle to improve outcomes for all learners. ERO will support the school in reporting their progress to the community. The next public report on ERO’s website will be a Te Ara Huarau | School Evaluation Report and is due within three years.

Phil Cowie
Director Review and Improvement Services (Central)
Central Region | Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

1 February 2023 

About the School

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.

Cornerstone Christian School

Board Assurance with Regulatory and Legislative Requirements Report 2022 to 2025

As of October 2022, the Cornerstone Christian School, School Board has attested to the following regulatory and legislative requirements:

Board Administration




Management of Health, Safety and Welfare


Personnel Management






Further Information

For further information please contact the Cornerstone Christian School, Board.

The next School Board assurance that it is meeting regulatory and legislative requirements will be reported, along with the Te Ara Huarau | School Evaluation Report, within three years.

Information on ERO’s role and process in this review can be found on the Education Review Office website.

Phil Cowie
Director Review and Improvement Services (Central)
Central Region | Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

1 February 2023

About the School

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.

Cornerstone Christian School - 03/05/2016


Significant change has been effectively managed as the school transitions to a Year 1 to 13 roll. The curriculum continues to be developed to meet the needs of all learners. Christian character and student wellbeing are high priorities. Most students achieve well. Strategies continue to be developed to more successfully accelerate the learning of some students.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Cornerstone Christian School is a Years 1 to 13 state integrated school in Palmerston North. Of the 392 students, 13% are Māori and 16% Pacific. Of the Pacific students, approximately equal numbers identify as Samoan or Tongan. The diverse identities and cultures of students, parents and whānau are recognised and affirmed. Collaboration and partnership is valued as part of promoting positive student outcomes.

The Cornerstone Christian Education Trust is the proprietor and has responsibility for the Christian character and buildings. Proprietors’ representatives take a full part on the board of trustees.

Since the November 2012 ERO review, there has been significant change.

  • The school is in the process of transitioning from a full primary (Years 1 to 8) to a composite (Years 1 to 13) school. There are currently 81 students in Years 9 to 11. Classes will extend through to Year 13 by the beginning of 2018.
  • There has been significant roll growth at all levels. An additional 140 students has led to the need for increased staff and extensive development of facilities. The new teaching spaces created include provision for a range of learning needs and extensive use of digital technology. Specialist rooms have been established and new staff employed to support implementation of the senior school curriculum.
  • The principal and assistant principals are new to their roles in the school. The principal was appointed in 2013. Assistant principals have responsibility for leading curriculum and provision of support for student wellbeing in each of Years 1 to 8 and Years 9 to 13.

Trustees and managers have a strategic and carefully considered approach to change. They ensure that the developments taking place in the school are supportive of learners. They communicate changes with parents in a timely fashion.

The Christian character is integral to daily practice. It is explicitly reflected in the school motto, Learn, serve and grow in God and to the identified values of respect, diligence, integrity, kindness and humility before God.

2 Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

Reference to a range of assessment information in Years 1 to 10 enables teachers and leaders to be responsive to the needs of learners. The achievement and progress of students is well known. Teachers continue to develop shared understandings of how to analyse data to strengthen their response to individual and group learning needs.

In 2015, the majority of students in the primary school achieved success in National Standards. In reading and mathematics over 80% of students were at or above expectation. Writing results were lower overall (74%) and significantly lower for boys, Māori and Pacific as groups. The recent school focus on writing, which has included extensive professional learning and development for teachers, has not yet resulted in the expected improvements in achievement.

Māori students achieve at a similar level to other students in reading. However, in 2015 their achievement was significantly lower in writing and mathematics. As a consequence, all Māori students currently below the National Standards will be deliberately targeted for acceleration in 2016.

While the achievement of many Pacific learners compares favourably with that of other groups, teachers have not been successful in progressing the learning of some students. Various initiatives have been tried in recent years, without gaining success. Further strategies have been identified and are being implemented in 2016.

Nationally standardised and school learning area assessments indicate Years 9 and 10 students are generally achieving well. A small number of these learners attempted and were very successful in National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) standards in 2015. Year 11 students will be involved in a range of NCEA assessments in 2016.

Students who are at risk in their learning are identified for focused support. Many of these targeted students make the necessary progress. More comprehensive sharing of information about successful strategies used to support individuals is assisting teachers to be more responsive to specific learners. Clearly stating expected levels for students’ acceleration and more closely monitoring their progress should assist teachers to have greater impact on their achievement. Leaders have identified increased use of year-to-year data to monitor students' progress and evaluate the effectiveness of teaching as a further next step.

A well-considered team approach effectively supports students with high learning needs. Progress is considered in relation to collaboratively developed expected learning outcomes. Parents, teachers and external agency personnel assist to identify potential next steps for these learners.

3 Curriculum

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?

The curriculum effectively promotes and supports learning for most students.

There is a deliberate approach to developing coherent and consistent systems for planning and learning. A focus on literacy, mathematics and science is evident, but students successfully access knowledge and understanding across all The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) learning areas.

Curriculum guidelines continue to be developed to support effective teaching and learning across the extended school. Shared expectations for students to lead their own learning are in place. Ongoing curriculum development should include:

  • support for effective transition through the levels of the curriculum
  • response to the diverse culture, language and identity of students.

Teachers know individual students well. They are aware of their aspirations and supportive of their wellbeing. Students participate and learn in respectful and well-resourced learning spaces. Those observed by ERO were purposefully engaged, self-managing and able to talk about their learning and next steps.

Students are well supported to be digitally literate and use a range of e-learning tools. Staff capability continues to be built to allow effective use of information and communication technology (ICT). This is seen as important to promote the school priorities of strengthening student ownership and parent/ whānau involvement in learning.

Parents and whanau are well informed about student achievement and next steps to support their children’s learning. They are welcomed and involved in school activities and decision-making. Consultation with, and close links to the community, impact on curriculum decisions and support improvement of students’ learning.

Inclusive practice by leaders and teachers supports students and their families to participate in the school. The building of positive relationships is prioritised. Teachers and leaders should continue to extend reciprocal relationships that support learning, particularly for targeted students.

Curriculum and resourcing is in place or being developed to provide for secondary aged students as they move through the year levels. A curriculum planner indicates that an appropriate range of subjects will be available in the senior school by 2018. Some specialist classes are provided by other schools and allow access to all learning areas of the NZC. Students are involved in a range of learning programmes that enable their individual strengths, interests and aspirations to be promoted.

A strong link to vocational pathways is developing as students approach the senior secondary level. Parents are supported to participate in considering possible future education and training opportunities for their children.

Systems are in place to support students’ wellbeing needs and the provision of careers information as they move through the school. In Years 9 to 11 the homeroom teacher has a pivotal role in pastoral care and monitoring academic progress. The systematic collection of student feedback in relation to the effectiveness of wellbeing support should be a next step.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

Since the 2012 ERO review, trustees and teachers have strengthened their knowledge of practices to promote Māori success as Māori. This process has been assisted by developing relationships with local marae and the use of expertise within the school.

Aspects of te ao Māori are included in the curriculum and support Māori learners’ sense of belonging. School-wide practices reflect whanaungatanga and manaakitanga. Consultation with whānau has contributed to strengthening the way school programmes reflect New Zealand’s bicultural heritage.

Current initiatives and consultation should continue to be extended to further promote Māori students’ success. Collaborative development of an improvement plan with whānau should be a useful contributor to this goal.

4 Sustainable Performance

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance through:

  • a shared vision
  • effective governance and leadership
  • teachers’ focus on positive outcomes for students
  • established processes for conducting and using internal evaluation.

The board is committed to providing high quality education for all students that reflects both the NZC and Christian character. Trustees work with the school community to regularly review the school’s vision and values. The direction for the extended school is clearly reflected in the school charter.

Since the previous ERO review, trustees have reviewed their practices and adopted a more strategic model. Trustees are well informed about student achievement and the implementation of strategic priorities. They are future focused and take a considered approach to responding to change. Continuing improvement to trustee effectiveness is supported through ongoing training.

The principal, in association with staff and trustees, is successfully leading change. Leaders collaboratively develop and enact the school’s vision, values and goals. Effective leadership builds successful participation and collaboration at every level of the school community.

Teachers use cooperative approaches to curriculum planning and assessment well to promote student learning. Their professional learning and development opportunities are responsive to their needs and aligned with school priorities. Ongoing critical reflection and knowledge building assist in sustaining improvements to their practice.

The teachers’ and principal’s appraisal processes are collaborative and meet requirements for compliance. Performance goals are established which link to board priorities and have the potential to support professional growth. Appraisal should continue to be developed to include:

  • greater use of student outcome information, including progress in achievement
  • a stronger focus on teaching as inquiry
  • development of teachers’ competence to promote Māori and Pacific learners’ success.

Systems that promote inquiry should continue to be developed to strengthen the quality of internal evaluation. This should assist improved evaluation of the impact of teacher and schoolwide actions on student outcomes.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of the school completed the ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklists. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legislative obligations related to:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial management
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.


Significant change has been effectively managed as the school transitions to a Year 1 to 13 roll. The curriculum continues to be developed to meet the needs of all learners. Christian character and student wellbeing are high priorities. Most students achieve well. Strategies continue to be developed to more successfully accelerate the learning of some students.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

3 May 2016

About the School


Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Composite (Years 1 to 13)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 54%, Female 46%

Ethnic composition




Other ethnic groups





Review team on site

February 2016

Date of this report

3 May 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2012

May 2009

April 2006